new musicals inc · Ages 10+ · United States of America

family friendly world premiere
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June 28, 2019 certified reviewer
tagged as: Fantastic · fun · family-friendly

What I liked

Everything. The new songs are dynamite (SLAFFPOC, for one, is outstanding), the lyrics are clever, the story is tight, and the cast delivers with verve and gusto. Shout-out to Josh Hillinger in particular, for his standout work as the lead Bully.

I came in with high expectations for this show, and The Bully Problem exceeded them handily. Bravo, all!

What I didn't like

There are things I miss from previous drafts, like the subplot about Kevin’s relationship with his father, the song Kevin’s mom used to have, and the song Kevin had when he was up all night working on math problems. Also, “Weird stuff happens at circus camp.” However, I understand the reasoning behind these cuts and changes, and admire Mike’s ability to judiciously kill his proverbial darlings in the name of a better production.

My overall impression

After watching multiple developmental readings and workshops of this show (including one where it was critiqued by musical theatre luminaries Steven Schwartz and Dean Pitchford), I’m thrilled to say that The Bully Problem has arrived! Congrats to Michael, the cast, and the team from NMI on a job well done.

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